Staying in the darkness

Event Boundaries: Helping to Compartmentalize Your Operations

I wrote previously wrote previously about using your brain to help compartmentalize you various identities. This is still a common thread of research I’m working on and wanted to further expand on the idea. The short version of my previous post was that if you can create a completely different operating environment for each of your operations/activities, you’ll be able to more easily maintain whatever OPSEC measures you’ve employed.

Event Boundaries

Event Boundaries is a theory that has come to my attention recently. The concept is simple — when you walk through a boundary such as a door, gate, or different space, your brain automatically switches from its previous mode of operation, to a new one. This is the reason that when you walk into a room, you sometimes completely forget why you’re there. The point to focus on here is that the boundary defines a beginning and an end of an environment.

When your brain knows there is a beginning and an end, studies show that this helps to create a compartment for those memories. We can use this to our advantage. In a perfect world, we could make physical barriers for each of our identities so that when we switch to another operation, we switch operating environments. Some realistic examples could be that Identity A always operates in Starbucks coffee shops, while Identity B always operates in the local library.

Logical Event Boundaries

If you’re confined to your own apartment, or have a static operating environment, you’re going to be left to tricking your brain into creating logical event boundaries instead. One way to do this is to create an induction procedure for that operation. Before you being working in that operating environment, you must follow the same exact steps you’ve done previously. This should take into account as many senses as you can.

For example, you can create a video that is a compilation of various images; a river, a mountain, an urban scene, and a zoo — it doesn’t matter the scense, but they need to all be in the same “mood” if you will (ie. a gun fight is not the same mood as a running river). Specific sounds or music are set in the background of the video. Whenever it’s time to assume that identity, you adjust the lights in the room to be very bright, you put on your headphones, fire up that identities computer, and watch that video. Following these steps, while you haven’t physically entered a room, you have logically created an event boundary that helps your brain to process and recall that identity’s operating environment.

When exiting, you must do something similar, but it cannot be the same process as the way you entered. (Because you’re creating the event of leaving the room which has a much different feeling than entering.) Create a new video consisting of a different mood and different music. I would suggest something drastically different than your operating environment. If you normally work quiet, create a loud video with lots of action. Finally, adjust the lights in the room so that are at their previous state.

Even as I write this, I feel that this may seem over-the-top or ridiculous. I might not disagree with over-the-top for what you’re doing, but the results are tangible. The point of all this is, if you work to maintain multiple operations or multiple identities with different operating requirements, this process can help (at least for me) to:

  • compartmentalize each operation so that it does not interfere with your personal life
  • maintain consistency for whatever OPSEC measures you employ
  • recall how that identity is supposed to act online